Gay definition

Frequency:
Joyous and lively; merry; happy; lighthearted.
adjective
93
24
Showing or characterized by cheerfulness and lighthearted excitement; merry.
adjective
63
23
Of, relating to, or having a sexual orientation to persons of the same sex.
adjective
67
44
Bright or lively, especially in color.

A gay, sunny room.

adjective
16
7
Bright; brilliant.

Gay colors.

adjective
20
13
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A homosexual; esp., a homosexual man.
noun
22
16
(dated)
adjective
7
1
The definition of gay is someone or something bright or happy.

An example of gay is a bouquet of flowers with many brilliant colors.

adjective
5
0
A person whose sexual orientation is to persons of the same sex.
noun
25
21
A man whose sexual orientation is to men.

An alliance of gays and lesbians.

noun
20
16
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Gay means a homosexual person.

An example of gay is a man who is only attracted to other men.

adjective
9
5
Gay is defined as a homosexual person.

An example of gay is Elton John.

noun
6
2
Of, for, or relating to homosexuals, often, specif., male homosexuals.

Gay liberation.

adjective
5
1
Given to social life and pleasures.

A gay life.

adjective
6
4
Homosexual.
adjective
3
1
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(person) 1685-1732; Eng. poet & playwright.
proper name
3
2
1898, John Mackinnon Robertson, G. Aston Singer, "The Social Evil Problem" in The University magazine and free review: a monthly magazine, Volume 9, p. 308

She imprudently forms the acquaintance of a "gay girl" living in the same street.

adjective
2
1
1889, Albert Barrère, Charles Godfrey Leland, A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant: Embracing English, American, and Anglo-Indian Slang, Pidgin English, Tinker's Jargon and Other Irregular Phraseology, Volume 1, p. 399

Gay (common, loose, dissipated; a "gay woman" or "gay girl," a prostitute. "All gay," vide All gay.

adjective
1
0
1899, Henry Fielding, Edmund Gosse, The works of Henry Fielding with an introduction, Volume 11, p. 290

"As nothing could be more gay, i.e., debauched, than Zeno's court, so the ladies of gay disposition had great sway in it; particularly one, whose name was Fausta, who, though not extremely handsome, was by her wit and sprightliness very agreeable to the emperor.

adjective
1
0
Homosexual:
  • (of a person or animal, especially a male person) Possessing sexual and emotional attraction towards members of the same gender or sex.
  • (of a romantic or sexual act or relationship) Being between two people of the same gender or the same sex; especially, being between two men.
    Gay marriage, though legal here, is still very controversial.
    Although the number of gay weddings has increased significantly, many gay and lesbian couples — like many straight couples — are not interested in getting married.
    Gay sex, gay acts.
  • (of an institution or group) Intended for gay people, especially gay men.
    She professes an undying love for gay bars and gay movies, and even admits to having watched gay porn.
  • In accordance with stereotypes of homosexual people.
adjective
1
0
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(chiefly in plural or attributive) A homosexual, especially a male homosexual; see also lesbian.
noun
1
1
1879, House of Commons, Great Britain, Reports from committees, p. 61

...it is possible for people to be diseased without being prostitutes or gay women; it is possible for people years ago to have spent a gay life and to have not got rid of their disease, or they may have become diseased by their husbands or lovers.

adjective
0
0
Dissolute or licentious.
adjective
4
5
A pejorative:
  • (slang, pejorative, dated) Effeminate or flamboyant in behavior.
  • (slang, pejorative) Used to express dislike: lame, uncool, stupid.
    This game is gay; let’s play a different one. = I dislike this game; let’s play a different one.
adjective
0
1
(of a dog's tail) Upright or curved over the back.
adjective
0
1
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(colloquial) Fun, fabulous, tasteful; fashionable. [from 21th c.]

Her decor is quite gay just in time for the new season. = Her house is decorated fabulously and tastefully.

adjective
0
1
anagrams
0
1
An English surname​, originally a nickname for a cheerful or lively person.
pronoun
0
1
A female given name from the word gay, "joyful"; rare today.
pronoun
0
1
A male given name. Also a shortened form of Gabriel, Gaylord and similar names, or transferred from the surname.
pronoun
0
1
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(slang) Odd, inept, pathetic, etc.
adjective
0
2
The name of the letter ⟨—⟩, which stands for the sound IPA: /ɡ/, in Pitman shorthand.
noun
0
2
(old-fashioned) Wanton; licentious.
adjective
5
9
Given to social pleasures, especially at the expense of serious pursuits.
adjective
5
10
(offensive slang) Socially inappropriate or foolish.
adjective
38
45
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
gay
Plural:
gays

Adjective

Base Form:
gay
Comparative:
gayer
Superlative:
gayest

Origin of gay

  • Middle English gai lighthearted, brightly colored from Old French possibly of Germanic origin

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English gay, from Old French gai (“joyful, laughing, merry”), probably a borrowing of Old Provençal gai (“impetuous, lively”), from Gothic (gaheis, “impetuous”), merging with earlier Old French jai ("merry"; see jay), from Frankish *gāhi; both from Proto-Germanic *ganhuz, *ganhwaz (“sudden”), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰengʰ- (“to stride, step”), from *ǵʰēy- (“to go”). Cognate with Dutch gauw (“fast, quickly”), Westphalian Low German gau, gai (“fast, quick”), German jäh (“abrupt, sudden”). For more information, see the entries gang and go.

    From Wiktionary

  • The sense of homosexual (first recorded no later than 1947) was shortened from earlier gay cat ‘homosexual boy’ in underworld and prison slang, itself first attested about 1935, but used earlier for a young tramp or hobo attached to an older one.

    From Wiktionary

  • Anatoly Liberman, following Frank Chance and Harri Meier, believes Old French gai was instead a native development from Latin vagus (“wandering, inconstant, flighty”), with *[w] > [g] as in French gaine.

    From Wiktionary

  • From Pitman kay, which it is derived from graphically, and the sound it represents. The traditional name gee was considered inappropriate, as the Pitman letter never has the sound of that name.

    From Wiktionary

  • The reason behind the recent pejorative usage is not documented, though it is primarily speculated to be due to hostility towards homosexuality.

    From Wiktionary

  • The sense of ‘upright’, used in reference to a dog’s tail, probably derives from the ‘happy’ sense of the word.

    From Wiktionary